In school, when the teacher set up the projecter everyone used to get excited. Even though we knew it was just a slide show presentation, it was something different from the textbook. It offered pictures, animations, sounds, and was easy to follow along.
However, as we got older and were tasked with making our own slide shows to present to the class, things took a dark turn. As it turned out, the enjoyment of a slide show rested solely on the presenter’s ability to create a captivating presentation – a skill most students lacked.
But what makes a good presentation? As an adult or an older student, how can you transcend the horrible presentations you suffered through (and inflicted on others) in your earlier years?
Don’t sweat it, we’ve got all the answers you need right here! Follow along to find out how you can make a quality presentation that will keep people engaged!
What Makes a Good Presentation?
To learn what makes a good presentation, you also have to know what makes a bad one. Below, we’ll cover all the dos and don’t of slide shows, along with tips on keeping people engaged, but not overstimulated!
1. Don’t Overdo the Colors
The first mistake we all made as youngsters behind the wheel of PowerPoint was getting distracted by all the pretty colors. There were hundreds of colors at our fingertips and we were deadset on using every one of them!
Don’t do that.
Instead, stick to five or fewer solid colors and avoid unnecessary textures and underlying patterns. Don’t be boring, but don’t try to induce seizures either.
2. Keep Text to a Maximum of Six Lines
Next, remember that you’re presenting a slide show, not a book. Keep the text on each slide to a minimum of six lines. It may seem like too little, but remember, your slide show is a presentation tool, you are the actual presenter.
Overloading your slide with text will make your presentation feel boring. Additionally, people will get fixated on reading the text, rather than listening to you.
3. Keep Slides Clean and Easy to Read
What makes a good presentation is a simplistic approach. Pictures and a captivating color scheme are great, but not if they make your slides difficult to read.
There’s nothing more annoying than a slide show with white font and a background picture of a bright blue sky and white fluffy clouds. It makes the font nearly impossible to read and can even strain the readers’ eyes. It seems obvious but people do it all the time.
4. Use Quality Images
Next, if you’re going for a quality presentation, you need to use quality images. Let’s face it, we all prefer books with pictures, it makes reading much more interesting.
However, if your presentation contains blurry and grainy images, it actually has the opposite effect. It cheapens the presentation, the information, and you as the presenter.
5. Learn How to Use Bullets
As we suggested earlier, what makes a good presentation is simplicity, and that includes bullet points. Reserve your bullet points for the especially poignant pieces of information you want people to remember or for major categories or topics. You can further dive into each bullet point by speaking, rather than bulleting everything.
Also, learn how to present one bullet at a time. Otherwise, people will distract themselves with the other points while you’re still trying to explain the first.
6. Fade to Black, Tell Your Story
Learning what makes a good presentation means learning how to keep your viewers’ focus on you. During parts of the presentation when you are going into a dialog or monologue, let your slide show fade to black. This way, people won’t zone out as they stare at the presentation.
When you go to make your own presentation, think about where you’ll be pausing the slide show to talk or directly address the viewers.
7. The 2/4/8 Rule
Finally, keeping the slides simple can be as easy as following the 2/4/8 rule. This rule dictates:
- A maximum of one slide every 2 minutes
- No more than 4 bullet points on each slide
- No more than 8 words in each bullet point
Following this easy-to-remember rule will keep your slides from becoming too busy or overly-complicated.
Congratulations, you now have everything you need to know about what makes a good presentation! The rest is up to you!
Good luck and remember to keep it simple. But don’t be afraid to be creative and express yourself either!
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